Also known as: Erromanga; Erromango

Eromanga is a small, high island in the south of Vanuatu. The islanders adopted Presbyterian Christianity in the early twentieth century, after a decades-long process of missionisation during which several missionaries lost their lives. The deaths of these missionaries led to the island becoming popularly known as 'Martyrs' Island'.

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Traditional Culture(1835-1860)Expand All +
Belief +

Supernatural Beings

Nature Spirits Absent (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 165-188
Robertson (1902), pp. 389-404
Nature god(s) Absent (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 165-188
Ancestral spirits Present, and the principal focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 165-188
Robertson (1902), pp. 389
Speiser (1990), pp. 318-319
Deified ancestor(s) Absent (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 165-188
Robertson (1902), pp. 389-404
God(s) Present, but not a major focus of supernatural practice (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 165-188
Robertson (1902), pp. 389-404

Supernatural Punishment

Supernatural punishment for impiety Present (Source)
Robertson (1902), pp. 389

Afterlife and Creation

One's actions while living can affect the nature of one's afterlife Absent (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 165-188
Robertson (1902)
The actions of others after one has died can affect the nature of one's afterlife One factor in determining one's afterlife (Source)
Robertson (1902), pp. 389
Myth of humanity’s creation Present, and creationist (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 186
Primordial pair Present, and genealogically linked to humans now living (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 186
Culture hero(es) Absent (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 165-188
Robertson (1902), pp. 389-404

General Features

Forces of nature are controlled by or imbued with the supernatural Present (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 172

Classes of Tapu

Kinship tapu Present (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 174
Social hierarchy tapu Present (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 142

Mana

Mana as a personal quality Absent (Source)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1984)
Blevins (2008), pp. 255-256
Mana related to social influence or technical skill Absent (Source)
Mana as a spiritual or religious concept Present (Source)
Blust (2007)
Keesing (1984)
Blevins (2008), pp. 255-256
Practice +

General Supernatural Practices

Headhunting Absent (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 148-150, 165-188
Robertson (1902), pp. 389-404
Costly sacrifices and offerings Present (Source)
Robertson (1902), pp. 389, 398
Political and religious differentiation No overlap (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 165-188, 167-170
Robertson (1902), pp. 389-404, 400-402

Rites

Piercing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 135
Genital cutting Present in the culture as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 177-179
Scarification Absent from culture (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 134-138, 177-186
Tattooing Present in culture, but not as a rite or feature of a rite (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 136-138, 177-186
Tooth pulling Absent from culture (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 134-138, 177-186
Social Environment +
Population 5000 (Source)
Crowley (1997), pp. 33-34
Speiser (1990), pp. 36
Population of largest political community 1,000-9,999 (Source)
Crowley (1997), pp. 33-34
Speiser (1990), pp. 36
Humphreys (1926), pp. 132
Importance of Patrilateral descent High (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 129
Importance of Matrilateral descent Low (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 129

Conflict

Conflict between communities of the culture Common, at least every five years (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 148-150
Conflict with other cultures Common, at least every five years (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 148-150
Robertson (1902), pp. 32-39
Cultural Isolation +
Contact with other cultures Frequent, through trade, warfare, travel, etc. (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 164
Robertson (1902), pp. 22-46
Distance to closest landmass inhabited by a different culture (km) 35.7 (Source)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Distance to African or Asian mainland (km) 7250.4 (Source)
Daft Logic Distance Calculator (2014)
Pre-Austronesian population Absent: No evidence of human occupation prior to Austronesian settlement (Source)
Bellwood (1995), pp. 109
Hindu / Buddhist influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. 2.21
Islamic influence on supernatural belief No evidence of influence and not in region of known contact (Source)
Cribb (2000), pp. 2.23
Subsistence and Economy +

Land-based means of subsistence

Animal husbandry as a source of food Minor (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 138-141, 139, 150-155, 155
Land-based hunting performed by individuals Absent (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 150-155
Land-based gathering Absent (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 138-141, 150-155
Land-based hunting performed by one or more groups Minor (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 150-155, 155
Agriculture / Horticulture Principal (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 151

Water-based means of subsistence

Fishing and water-based hunting performed by one or more groups Minor (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 139, 153-155
Fishing and water-based hunting performed by individuals Major (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 139, 153-155
Water-based gathering Absent (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 138-141, 150-155

Commercial Activity

Trade / wage labour as a source of food Medium (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 150-165
Metalworking Absent (Source)
Bellwood et al (1975)
Physical Environment +

Geographical Range of Culture

Number of islands inhabited by culture One (Source)
Humphreys (1926), pp. 123-192

Features of Island with Largest Culture Population

Latitude -18.8 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Longitude 169.2 (Source)
Google Maps (2014)
Island type (island with largest culture population or largest island if unknown) Volcanic high island (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Erromanga) (2014)
Island Size (km²) 975.0 (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Erromanga) (2014)
Maximum elevation (meters) 886.0 (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Erromanga) (2014)
Post Contact History(1860-2014)Expand All +
Religious History +

Conversion

Use of force in conversion Low (Source)
Crowley (2001), pp. 257
Robertson (1902)
Resident missionary involvement in conversion process Present, and from non-Austronesian societies (Source)
Crowley (2001), pp. 242
Robertson (1902)
Adoption of a world religion Present and predominant (Source)
Crowley (2001), pp. 242
Secular History +

Modern Infrastructure

Air travel Present, local only (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Erromanga) (2014)
Sea port Absent (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Erromanga) (2014)

Economic Changes

Exportation of goods to other cultures Present but minor (Source)
Encyclopaedia Britannica (Erromanga) (2014)

Demographic and Social Changes

Language shift Medium (Source)
Crowley (2001), pp. 241
Current Culture(2014)Expand All +
Belief +

Religious Demographics

Dominant world religion Christianity (Source)
Crowley (2001), pp. 247
External Links
References
Bellwood, P. (1995). Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia: Homeland, Expansion and Transformation. P. Bellwood, J.J. Fox, & D. Tryon (Eds.), The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (pp 113-114). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Bellwood, P., Ayres, W. S., Clune Jr, F. J., Craib, J., Durbin, T. E., Young, F. A., ... & Green, R. C. (1975). The Prehistory of Oceania [and Comments and Reply]. Current Anthropology, 16(1), 9-28. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2740946

Blevins, J. (2008). Some Comparative Notes on Proto-Oceanic *Mana: Inside and Outside the Austronesian Family. Oceanic Linguistics, 47 (2), 253-274. Retrieved from http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/ol/summary/v047/47.2.blevins.html

Blust, R. (2007). Proto-Oceanic *Mana Revisited. Oceanic Linguistics, 46(2), 404-423. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20172322

Craig R. D. (2004). Handbook of Polynesian Mythology. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO-Inc.

Cribb, R. (2000). Historical atlas of Indonesia. Surrey, UK: Curzon Press.

Crowley, T. (1997). What Happened to Erromango's Languages? The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 106 (1), 33-63. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20706691

Crowley, T. (2001). The Indigenous Linguistic Response to Missionary Authority in the Pacific. Australian Journal of Linguistics, 21 (2), 239-260, DOI: 10.1080/07268600120080587

Daft Logic Distance Calculator. (2014). http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm.

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Erromanga). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/EBchecked/topic/191906/Erromango

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Vanuatu). (2014). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/623102/Vanuatu

Google Maps (2014). Retrieved from maps.google.com

Humphreys, C. B. (1926). The Southern New Hebrides: An Ethnological Record. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Keesing, R. M. (1984). Rethinking "mana". Journal of Anthropological Research, 40(1), 137-156, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629696.

Robertson, H. A. (1902). Erromanga: The Martyr Isle. NY: A. C. Armstrong And Son.

Speiser, F. & Schultz, F. (Trans.). (2003). Ethnological Data on the Santa Cruz Islands. New Haven, CT: Human Relations Area Files. Retrieved from http://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/ehrafe/citation.do?method=citation&forward=browseCulturesFullContext&col=collection%28%27/eHRAF/ethnography/Oceania/ON13%27%29&docId=on13-002&tocOffsetId=tocPubInfoP (Originally published 1916).

Speiser, F. (1990). Ethnology of Vanuatu: an Early Twentieth Century Study. Bathurst, NSW: Crawford House Press. (Originally published 1923).

Spriggs, M. (1989). The dating of the Island Southeast Asian Neolithic: an attempt at chronometric hygiene and linguistic correlation. Antiquity, 63(240), 587-613.